iOS 16 Messages Guide: Unsend, Edit, and Other New Features

With iOS 16, Apple is adding major updates to the Messages app, introducing features that many people have wanted for years. This guide highlights everything that’s new with the Messages app in ‌iOS 16‌, iPadOS 16, and also macOS Ventura, as many of Messages’ features are cross-platform.

Editing iMessages

When you send an iMessage in ‌iOS 16‌, you can edit it up to 15 minutes after it was sent. To edit an iMessage, just long-press on the message you want to fix, add your edit, then tap the blue checkmark to resend it.

ios 16 message editing
There are a few caveats to consider when using this feature. It only works with iMessages, not SMS, so both people need to have an iPhone for it to work effectively. Modified messages will be repeated for those not running ‌iOS 16‌.

Using the message editing feature as intended requires participants to use the latest updates from Apple, including ‌iOS 16‌, ‌iPadOS 16‌, ‌macOS Ventura‌, and watchOS 9.

People using an earlier operating system or those on Android will see text that says “Modified for [text]” when receiving a modified iMessage.

The Messages app doesn’t provide a history of the changed iMessage, so the person on the other end won’t know what the change was.

iMessage Unsend

If you send an iMessage and then change your mind, you can use the unsend feature to remove it. You can unsend an iMessage up to 15 minutes after sending it.

messages cancel send ios 16
As with editing iMessage, undoing iMessage has limitations that you should be aware of. If you use the unsend feature on a message sent to someone running an older version of iOS, it won’t work and the message won’t be sent.

In this situation, the person on the other end won’t see that you undid it, even though it will disappear from your ‌iPhone‌. If someone is using an older version of iOS, they will say the following:

“You haven’t sent a message. [Person] can still see your message on devices running older versions of iOS.”

To cancel sending to work, participants must be running ‌iOS 16‌, ‌iPadOS 16‌, ‌macOS Ventura‌, and ‌watchOS 9‌ on their devices. iMessage is required, as the feature does not work on SMS messages.

Mark as unread

There’s a new mark as unread feature in ‌iOS 16‌, which lets you mark an SMS message or iMessage as new, so it has the blue dot to remind you to come back to it.

ios 16 mark as unread messages
Marking as unread is useful if you receive a message and don’t have time to read it or address it right now, as it saves it as a new message with a notification badge on the Messages app .

To mark a thread as unread, long press on the conversation and then tap on the “Mark as unread” option.

Recover deleted messages

Underneath the “Filters” interface of the Messages app, there is a new “Recently Deleted” section which gathers all the texts you have deleted. If you accidentally delete a message that you didn’t mean to delete, you can recover it here.

recently deleted messages ios 16
This interface has dedicated “Delete All” and “Recover All” options to process all messages at once, or you can select an individual message and choose to delete or recover it.

SharePlay support

SharePlay, the feature designed to let you use apps, watch TV, listen to music and more with friends and family via FaceTime, has been extended to the Messages app. In any app that supports SharePlay, you can choose to start a SharePlay session with the Messages app.

shared messages ios 16
Participants in the SharePlay experience can view and discuss the same content via iMessage. It’s handy for collaborating on various apps, playing games, working out, talking about TV shows and movies, and almost any other SharePlay interaction. SharePlay is now compatible with Messages and ‌FaceTime‌, so you can choose the communication method you prefer.

Collaborative integration

Collaboration is a new feature built into iOS apps. You can work with colleagues, friends or family in Files, Keynote, Issues, Pages, Notes, Reminders and Safari, by sending an invitation to collaborate via Messages.

When a collaboration has started, all invited participants will see message updates when the shared project in the app changes. Collaborations can be initiated from Messages or ‌FaceTime‌.

Spam Report

Apple is expanding the built-in “Report Spam” feature in the Messages app to cover SMS/MMS messages, allowing spam messages to be reported to certain carriers in the United States.

report spam ios 16
If you long-press on an SMS/MMS message in the Unknown Senders section of the Messages app in ‌‌iOS 16‌‌, you can select the “Report as Junk” option. Using this option allows you to report a message as spam, send it to Apple and Verizon, and delete the message.

The Report Spam feature was previously available for iMessage, but the option to report SMS/MMS messages to Apple and carriers is new.

Developer API

Apple is making the Shared with You API available to developers, so they can create a dedicated Shared with You section in their apps, which will aggregate in-app content sent to you by friends in that app. So, for example, if a friend sends a Zillow list, you might be able to see it in a new Shared with you section in the Zillow app.

It’s an opt-in for third-party apps, and it’s an extension of the Shared with you feature that Apple introduced in iOS 15. Shared with you takes Safari links, photos, music, etc., and makes them available in apps so you don’t miss your friends’ content.

Apple also has a Messages Collaboration API to allow third-party apps to take advantage of the new collaboration feature that allows users to communicate in the Messages app while working together in another app.

Guides’ comments

Have questions about the ‌iOS 16‌ Messages app, know of a feature we left out, or want to provide feedback on this guide? Email us here.


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Steven L. Nielsen